Monday, June 10, 2013

Letter to the Press: Extend nursing helpline to all estates

My letter to The Straits times on the above matter was published, today, Monday 10th June 2013.

I am sure many Nee Soon South residents will benefit from the new nurse helpline that will be available from next Monday ("Free nurse helpline for Nee Soon South residents"; last Monday).

But the service, which seeks to reach out to residents who may be too apprehensive to seek face-to-face advice on issues they are grappling with, should be extended to other housing estates.

In hospitals, health-care professionals make it a point to remind patients to tell them if they are facing any problems, such as financial ones. In such a conducive, warm and friendly environment, patients can easily open up and feel comfortable to speak frankly about their problems.

But once the patients are discharged, they may not receive the same level of support. This is especially so as family sizes have become smaller and sometimes, a patient may have only one caregiver.

Several media reports show that many people are finding it difficult to cope with the stresses of life. Their problems include mental-health issues, violence in the family, poor anger management, substance abuse and losing the will to live.

Many senior citizens are lonely, isolated and depressed. We need to reach out to the vulnerable in our society.

So, it is only right that such nursing helplines be extended to residents in all housing estates. We should not neglect other residents in dire need of support. Rather, we must show that we are building a cohesive Singapore where every citizen matters.

Raymond Anthony Fernando


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